When laying tile in a basement, there are different ceramic tile techniques, depending on the surface on which the tile is to be laid. The tile may be laid on concrete, vinyl, wood, or on other tile. Each of these floors will need to be prepped before you can begin your basement ceramic tile technique.
Different Floors, Different Prep Work
When lying ceramic tile on a basement floor that is made of bad concrete, with cracks and/or rough patches, the surface will first have to be repaired. Any poor areas will need to be smoothed or repaired with concrete filler.
Concrete filler comes in a tube and can be found at most hardware stores. On concrete that is old, it will need to be thoroughly cleaned. A degreaser should normally be used on old concrete as part of your basement ceramic tile technique.
If you are beginning with a vinyl floor, the original flooring will need to be removed. All of the vinyl, as well as the vinyl adhesives, will have to be removed before using any basement ceramic tile techniques. With a wood floor, you will need to install concrete board tape joints, using fiberglass tape and the thinnest joints.
When the main prep work of the original floor is done, it will need to be cleaned of any dust or debris. The surface that is to be tiled should be as level as possible. Before purchasing the tile or beginning the installation, the manufacturers instructions should be checked. When the instructions are read, and the floor is clean and bare, your basement ceramic tile technique can begin.
Installing Your Basement Ceramic Tile
Measure the room to find the center. Using chalk, draw two lines that cross exactly in that center. It is usually a good idea to do a dry run before affixing any tile, meaning laying the tile out on the floor with spacers. This basement tile technique will show you where to start, how wide your grout lines should be, and whether or not you have purchased enough tile.
Draw an additional line out from each wall with your chalk that is the width of a tile. This basement ceramic tile technique will help keep the tile placement in a straight line. Once you have your tiles and spacers laid out and are happy with the placement, you can begin to mix the mortar.
Mixing and Spreading Mortar
The mortar used for ceramic tile is a thin one that you must mix yourself. Using a bucket, pour in almost a full bag of the dry mix. Add only enough water to get the mix wet, and start mixing.
Mix the mortar until it has a creamy texture. When it achieves this texture, let it sit for approximately 10 minutes. At the end of that time, it should have a tacky feel.
When this is completed, you can begin to spread the mixture. For the small section tile, pick a 2 x 2 floor section and spread the mortar with a notched trowel. The mortar should be spread in an even layer.
Spread the mortar in small sections so that the layer does not dry before the tile has been put into position. The tile can then be places into their positions.
If you come to an area that the tile will not fit, you can either mark the tile where it should be cut, and then take the tile to your tile retailer to cut, or you can cut it yourself if you have a tile cutter. Continue placing the tiles in small sections until the entire floor is covered. Then leave the tile to dry for a few days.
After the mortar is dried, grout can be applied. Using a rubber trowel, spread the grout at an angle so that you are certain that it gets in between each tile, wiping away the excess grout with a damp cloth. The technique will need to be repeated several times, until the entire floor is completed.